by “Mom to Six”
In December 2007, my husband had been out of work for six months and was attending Seminary to become an ordained minister. He intended to go back into the Army as a Chaplain. During his school money was tight, to say the least.
Of our six children, the oldest was 19 and usually pretty handy with electronics. Dad had told him, “I wouldn’t open that DVD player if I were you.” Well, he wasn’t dad, he did open it: It quit working. A new DVD player wasn’t on our list to buy, not with car repairs, utility bills and a mortgage company wanting money.
That Christmas didn’t seem likely to be very present heavy, but I determined to make it happy. We did cheap things — parades, community fun days, baking cookies, making candy and homemade gift baskets.
Perhaps those things weren’t as exciting as loading the tree with gifts, but hopefully my children would learn that family togetherness and traditions are more important than “stuff”.
One evening after dinner I was standing in the kitchen when the doorbell rang. I went to answer it and opened it to find no one there.
Aargh, I hate it when those rotten neighbor kids “ring and run.” I was determined to find them this time! In slippers, I headed out to the sidewalk to find the perpetrator and give them a good tongue-lashing.
Heading toward the mailbox, I heard someone near the house and called out. “OK, you may think it’s funny to ring the doorbell and run, but I don’t!” Then I saw movement. Ha! I had them now.
Someone moved behind my car, probably thinking they could scoot around the back of the truck and be home free. But I had parked so you couldn’t get in between the garage and the garbage cans. I stood at the end of the driveway.
“Come out,” I said, in my biggest, scary Mom voice. “I can see you there!”
A muffled, disguised voice replied, “Hey lady, go check your door!”
Huh? I stopped short — what was up? “I checked, there isn’t anything at my door,” I replied.
“Not at your door, on your door,” came the same muffled, somewhat familiar voice from behind the garbage.
“Oh.” I said, as light dawned. (Oops!)
Embarrassed, I sheepishly left the confrontation at the end of the driveway and went to the door. There, right under the porch light was a red envelope taped to the door.
I took it inside and the “Christmas Perpetrator” slunk away in the darkness, his identity still a mystery. Inside the envelope was a department store gift card for $250, with a note that said “This card will explode at the checkout if you purchase a DVD-VCR, so don’t do it.”
And to think I imagined that Christmas might be boring. Wherever you are, Christmas Perp, I hope your days are jolly and that you know: at our home we’re still grateful to you.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The author’s web site is: http://tinyurl.com/2d2nhpf